foreword

I've noticed lately that there's a bit of a mystery surrounding physics.

It's a subject that everyone studies at school, to some level, but if you ask the average person what they think of physics, you might get an answer like, "Oh… physics… yeah I don't like physics", or "Um, quantum mechanics?", or maybe a furrowed brow. People feel in general that they don't know much about physics, because it has been stereotyped in the past as this taboo, difficult subject that only "rocket scientists" and the like understand. More importantly, there seem to be many people who think that physics has no relevance to them.

But there's also been a shift. Media, on one hand, has aided in changing the public perception of physics and helped to generate interest in various fields, from space physics (think the Mars mission and Virgin's foray into the atmosphere) to high energy physics (CERN's Large Hadron Collider, and even that book by Dan Brown…). But as well as stirring up interest in physics, the media has been a key source of raised questions and compounded misconceptions. The increased publicity of 'science news' combined with the mystery of a subject most people only vaguely remember has meant that many people are quite interested in the field of physics, but want to know more about just what 'physics' is and what relevance it has to them.

I'm figuring that out myself, actually. I'll be starting Honours in physics soon, and although I've gone through a fair few years of undergraduate physics now, I think now more than ever that there is still so much to learn. So I'm not in the position to be a debunker of myths or dispenser of knowledge, far from it.

What I can do is share things about physics that I come across in my studies or otherwise, things that I think might be interesting to others. My interest in physics stems from the fact that, as a subject, there is little else that is so dedicated to figuring out how the world, in all its intricacies, works from the nanoscopic scale to the scale of galaxies. I think that if physics can be used to give everyone a better idea about the world they live in every day, answering questions that they might not have even thought of, then that can only be a good thing.

In the light of the quote on the physbits main page, and in my search for defining 'treasure', perhaps the epitome of treasure as knowledge becomes true when you can share something you've learnt.

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